Students prefer Fair-Trade chocolate

Lauren Piro

Villanova student ambassadors of the Catholic Relief Services Fair Trade sector, recently conducted a chocolate taste test to promote the Fair-Trade products and educate students about their cause.In performing a blind taste test in the Bartley Atrium on Feb. 21, the ambassadors had students compare Hershey’s chocolate and Divine Fair-Trade chocolate. The majority of students said they preferred the Fair-Trade chocolate. Students also completed a survey which tested knowledge on Fair-Trade practices.”One of our goals as a group is to raise awareness about Fair Trade on campus,” junior ambassador Amy Knop-Narbutis said. “We did this during the taste test by discussing it with people, handing out pamphlets, etc.”Fair-Trade companies promote fair wages ,particularly for small farmers, fair labor conditions and environmental protection.”Money [from selling their products] goes back to the farmers so they are able to live an adequate life,” said Joyce Zavarich, associate director of the Center for Peace and Justice Education, which houses the ambassadors. She also said that farmers can use this money for better equipment and education for their children.The ambassadors made sure to address these issues in their survey with hopes of showing students how buying Fair-Trade products is easy and beneficial.”A common misconception about Fair Trade is that it is more expensive to the consumer,” Knop-Narbutis said. “One of the ways Fair Trade keeps its consumer price competitive is by cutting out the unnecessary middlemen of the process.”Starting with Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week about eight years ago, the student Fair-Trade initiative has made a significant mark on the Villanova community. Pura Vida Fair-Trade coffee is available at all dining locations while Divine chocolate is in some locations. Fair-Trade ambassadors also hope Dining Services will bring in Fair-Trade bananas and rice .More campaign initiatives are planned for the future.”Our next project is compiling a book of Fair-Trade, sweat[shop]-free T-shirts which we will distribute to clubs on campus” Knop-Narbutis said. With continued education on campus, the ambassadors hope buying Fair Trade can become second nature to the Villanova community.”It is a simple thing we can do in solidarity by just drinking our [Fair-Trade] coffee,” Zavarich said.